Cliff Notes: Keys to Turn a Failing Company Around

December 31, 1969

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In this riveting clip of EYL, our hosts Rashad Bilal and Troy Millings sit down for an illuminating conversation with Dean Forbes, a trailblazer in the SaaS (Software as a Service) industry. Dean shares his journey of becoming a seasoned CEO, recounting the highs and lows of leading and turning around companies in various sectors and geographies.

Dean begins by emphasizing the importance of proving his competencies were not merely circumstantial. Transitioning from his success at Primavera, he took on the challenge of reviving KDS, a Paris-based SaaS company that was struggling at the time. KDS had 95% of its clientele in France, and Dean saw an opportunity for geographic expansion. He leveraged his sales expertise cultivated at Motorola and Oracle to steer KDS into new markets such as the UK, Germany, and the US. The result was astounding, leading to a pivotal partnership with American Express.

Dean narrates the gripping tale of how KDS's successful partnership with American Express evolved into a bidding war that culminated in an acquisition. His strategic move to involve Mastercard, creating a competitive tension, brought American Express back to the negotiation table. Dean also details a memorable negotiation with the chairman of American Express’s travel management business, which included dramatic moments of being escorted out by security—twice!

Breaking down the key strategies that led to the €125 million sale of KDS to American Express, Dean’s story is one of strategic brilliance and sheer tenacity. His ability to foster high-stakes competitive environments, renegotiate partnership terms, and execute timed bluff moves showcases the kind of acumen that turns seemingly insurmountable challenges into landmarks of career success.

Join us in this episode to gain unique insights into what it takes to thrive in the tech and SaaS industries, learning directly from a leader who’s been through the trenches and come out victorious. Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, a seasoned executive, or just someone intrigued by high-stakes business maneuvers, Dean Forbes’s story provides invaluable lessons and inspirational moments.

Key Points:

– Dean Forbes’s career progression from Primavera to leading multiple successful SaaS companies

– Geographic expansion and sales optimization strategies

– The value of creating competitive tension in business negotiations

– A dramatic negotiation narrative with American Express

– The final acquisition deal and the strategies that led to it


#EYL #DeanForbes #SaaS #BusinessLeadership #Entrepreneurship #TechIndustry #SalesStrategy #NegotiationSkills #AmericanExpress #Mastercard #TechCEO #BusinessAcumen #StartupSuccess #GeographicExpansion

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